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Movie Masters Bruce Wayne

The Dark Knight
by yo go re

Okay, Mattel, we get it: you're really good at making packaging for summer con exclusives. At some point, though, it starts to become more about the box than the figure inside it. The packaging on this one is so ornate that we had to push all the info about it off to the blog. It's nice packaging, sure, but it does rather overshadow the figure inside.

Of course, that may say more about the figure than the packaging. Since the beginning Mattel's "Movie Masters" toys have been perpetually disappointing. They're nicely detailed (being sculpted by the Four Horsemen will do that for you), but they're done in a hard 6" scale, rather than the "inflated 6" of the rest of the DC figures, so they look shrimpy.

With both a maskless Christian Bale head and a generic suit that they love to use all the time, it's really surprising that they never put the two together to release a plain Bruce Wayne figure. And to be honest, they still haven't. This figure may represent Bruce when he's out of the costume, but he's certainly not wearing a business suit or a fancy tuxedo. If someone saw him walking around Wayne Manor like this, they'd still think something weird was going on.

Despite them already having that unmasked Bruce head, this figure doesn't use it. Well, it's the same sculpt, but it's a completely new tooling, smaller and more narrow than before. Because it's been squished, it doesn't look as much like Bale as it used to - if nothing else, that underscores how important the molding process is to capturing a likeness.

If you had any doubt that Movie Masters figures are too small, Mattel's choice of body for this figure should clear that right up for you. Below the neck, this is basically the DCUC "large teen" body (remember, it's not a buck unless you're stupid), a.k.a. the Sinestro body. Sinestro, whose defining feature was that he was too small. And yet this figure is already taller than the other Movie Masters! See, Mattel? This is why making figures the right size from the start is important. If you hadn't shrunk Movie Masters (or beefed up the Classics), this wouldn't be a problem today.

Below the neck, Bruce is pretty much just wearing a black bodystocking. Sure, there are dark grey panels painted on his chest, abs, shoulders and thighs, but this still isn't anything that would be mistaken for real clothes. What, is he going scuba diving? This is kind of like a throwback to the old style of "quick change" disguises toys used to come with, but it's done terribly. Kenner did a better job creating a civilian Bruce Wayne for the Tim Burton movie in 1989 than Mattel did in 2012, and that's just embarrassing. Hell, even if they'd directly copied the silly faux-sweater deco of that toy, it still would have been a better choice than big grey blocks! What an embarrassment.

The gimmick of this figure is obviously that you can turn Bruce Wayne into Batman. The first step in that process is to remove the figure's lower legs, because giving him fake boot-fronts would have been a cop out. But if that's the case, why are his normal legs so stupid? They're the perfectly smooth shins seen on so many DCUC figures, which is part of what makes the Bruce figure look so stupid. The lower legs were already new molds, since they had to be removable and there are no ankle joints - why, then, didn't Mattel get the Four Horsemen to sculpt him some real dress shoes and pantlegs?

The batsuit is done in five pieces: the boots, the entire body, the mask and cape, and finally the belt. After removing the lower legs, you simply slide him into the suit, clasp the belt around his waist and pull the cowl down over his head. Once you do, you'll find that the only part of the Bruce Wayne body that can still be seen is his hands - meaning that there is absolutely no reason for Mattel to have decorated him the way they did. He could have been wearing bright green pants and a Hawaiian shirt, and it all still would have been covered when you turned him into Batman.

The suit itself is detailed very well. The details aren't as crisp here as they are on the normal Movie Masters, but that's unavoidable; when you consider it's cast from flexible rubber rather than hard ABS, the level of detail becomes very impressive.

The PVC its made from is thicker than you might expect. The first figure to have a rubber suit like this was the X-Men movie Mystique, who could be turned into the world's creepiest Wolverine. But that suit was very thin, very flimsy, and completely fell apart after too short a time. This one is sturdier - even able to stand freely by itself - so hopefully it won't shred to pieces by this time next year. Of course, who can say? Some people reported problems with Swamp Thing appearing as little as a month after SDCC last year, but mine is still perfectly fine as of this writing.

One downside to the suit being so thick? Bruce is pretty much unposeable when he's inside it. Yes, you can flex the joints, but the weight of the suit pushes them right back to where they were before. You'll have to decide whether that's something that will bother you, but we'll take this over the alternative.

For some fans, the draw of this set isn't Bruce Wayne or his batsuit, but rather the fact that we finally get some accessories for Batman! Four years, and this is the first time we've ever gotten something for Batman to hold? That's stupid. The accessories are held in place in the package in the same tray that holds the batsuit, making for a cool display when you open it up. The pieces include two (oversized) batarangs, his grappling gun, and the stickybomb launcher he used in Hong Kong. You could also count the utility belt, if you felt like it. Of course, since the figure's poseability is just about nil, you'll do better to give them to any of the other Batman Movie Masters.

This figure has really cool packaging, but that's a lot of flash designed to distract us from the fact that Mattel put in very little substance. We're not asking for a softgoods business suit with real working buttons, but this Bruce Wayne figure is a huge missed opportunity. What could have been a truly awesome exclusive set is instead just truly disappointing. At last, a convention exclusive figure you don't have to feel bad about missing.

-- 08/01/12


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